Fishing Reports:  Fresh water and salt water - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada - UPDATED November 25, 2017.

            OUR NEXT PRINT PUBLICATION DEADLINE IS November 17, 2017.           

 ADVERTISE in Island Angler  Phone 250-753-2227 , Email:

Get The Marketing Edge For Your Business

Fishing at a Glance - Fishing Photo Gallery - Fishing Articles On-Line - Fishing Reports - Subscribe NOW  - Book Store: Fishing Guides  - Advertising Rates & Press and Editorial Schedule - Win FREE Tackle Prizes  -  Fish Recipes -    LINKS 
Fishing LINKS On-Line LINKS - Fishing LINKS - Back to Island Angler Home Page

salmon, trout, halibut, steelhead, bass fishing report

Vancouver Island Fishing Reports: For Winter 2017-18 From: Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney, Langford, Elk Lake, Prospect Lake, Sooke, Pedder Bay, Becher Bay, Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew, Nitinat Lake, Nitinat River, Harris Creek, Cowichan Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Duncan, Chemainus Lake, Salt Spring Island, St. Mary Lake, Cusheon Lake, Nanaimo, Quennell Lake (Cedar), French Creek, Parksville,Qualicum Beach, Spider Lake, Cameron Lake, Nile Creek, Courtenay / Comox, Oyster River, Campbell River, Gold River, Oyster River, Salmon River, Port Alberni,  Bamfield, Ucluelet, Tofino, Barkley Sound, Nootka Sound, Moutcha Bay, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, Port Hardy.


The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) asks the public to report suspicious fishing activities by contacting your nearest DFO office, or by anonymously calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477),, or by texting TIP190 and your message to 274637 (crimes).


DFO catch information indicates that the recreational share of the Total Allowable Catch for halibut was achieved by early September. Therefore, recreational fishing for halibut under the BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License closed September 6, 2017 for the balance of the year.

This Atlantic salmon was caught in the Salmon River on Vancouver Island. The faceless angler is a federal fisheries employee who fears for his job security if he is perceived to be making an anti-aquaculture statement in his off duty fishing.


Atlantic salmon are showing up in our rivers. Hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon were freed into the Salish Sea this August after the structural collapse of a Cooke Aquaculture fish farm in Washington State. Some of those fish were caught in nets by First Nations fleets and commercial salmon fishers. The remainder have dispersed throughout the area, and they have been caught off all coasts of Vancouver Island.

Alarmingly they have been turning up in rivers, including the Nooksack, Puyallup and Snahomish rivers in Washington State, The Harrison and Fraser on the BC mainland and more recently in Vancouver Island rivers.

Some of the Atlantic salmon were unable to feed normally, their stomachs full of inedible substances like wood chips and mussel shells.

Atlantic salmon in local waters is not new. Since the 1990s almost a million escaped from salmon farms. Despite the industry and the government’s assurances that they could never reproduce and displace native Pacific salmon, river snorkel surveys have shown that Atlantic salmon have spawned and hatched in several Vancouver Island rivers. Forensic analysis of scales and body tissue has proven that these fish were hatched in the wild not in fish farms. They have also been found spawning in Alaskan rivers, where Atlantic salmon farming is illegal.

In a paper entitled, Evidence of Natural Reproduction of Aquaculture-Escaped Atlantic Salmon in a Coastal British Columbia River University of Victoria biologist John Volpe said, "Twelve juvenile Atlantic salmon composed of two year classes were captured in the Tsitika River, British Columbia." He goes on to explain his process and conclusion that escaped Atlantic salmon are spawning in our rivers. He gathers his data by personally snorkel-swimming the rivers

Whether these spawners pose a risk to the continued existence of our native fish is not certain. Efforts to deliberately introduce Atlantic salmon to the Pacific in the mid 1900s failed.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) meanwhile reports on its website that in BC freshwater systems "No Atlantic salmon, of any life stage, were identified."

DFO asks anglers to report all captures of Atlantic salmon to 1-800-811-6010. Atlantic salmon have black spots on gill covers and the escaped Atlantic salmon weigh about 10 lb

Pacific salmon in the Atlantic!

Vancouver Island anglers are not too surprised when they catch Atlantic salmon. These are farmed salmon that have escaped their net pen enclosures. Now the tables have turned, and Pacific salmon are being caught in the Atlantic, in Irish salmon rivers. Pink salmon from the Pacific have become an invasive species in the Moy, the Carrib and the Cong rivers in Mayo and Galway. Some rivers in Scotland are also turning up Pacific pink salmon.

Irish and Scottish fisheries scientists are concerned about the impacts on native Atlantic salmon. Dr. Greg Forde head of Inland Fisheries Ireland ruled out the possibility of these salmon making their own way naturally from the Pacific.

If this is the result of deliberate human intervention, it was done with expert knowledge of salmon biology.



The Government of Canada is inviting Canadians to join in a conversation about the protections needed to ensure our fish have a healthy environment to live, feed and reproduce, and healthy corridors to migrate between these places.

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced the launch of an online public consultation to seek Canadians’ views on recent changes to the Fisheries Act.

This online public consultation is part of the Government’s Review of Environmental and Regulatory Processes.

Canadians can share their views and have their voices heard by visiting :

Quick Facts

- The Fisheries Act gives the government the powers to manage Canadian fisheries and to protect habitat that supports them. It is an essential tool to conserving the sustainability of our fisheries.

- Gaining royal assent in 1868, the Fisheries Act is one of Canada’s oldest pieces of federal legislation. It was most recently amended in 2012. This current consultation is seeking Canadian’s views on whether any lost protections from the latest amendment should be restored.



Saltwater – Chinook fishing has been picking up around the South Island. All fishing effort is targeting winter springs. Most of these fish are from 3-6 lb. in size with some larger ones up to 11 lb.

Beacher Bay - Most of the fish seen at Cheanuh Marina came from the Bedfords to Whirl Bay and were running up to 10 lb. Most of the fish have been caught on spoons with Coho Killers, Gibbs Skinny Gs in Cop Car and green and silver colours. The Highliner Guide Series Outfitters and Lemon Lime, Silver Fever Hot Spot and Big Shooter Betsy have been working well. Fish close to the bottom for the winter springs.

Pedder Bay Marina reports good fishing. It has really picked up inside the bay and at Whirl Bay. Most of the fish have been close to the bottom in 120 – 140 feet of water. That said, we did hear of one taken at 60 feet on a shallow line in deep water. The salmon have been reported up to 12 lb. Spoons have been producing the best and the Skinny Gs, AP Tackleworks and Coho Killers are the top choices. Hootchies and squirts with a green and glow, or UV white have been popular colour choices for plastic baits. Flashers that are popular include the Guide Series Madi, Outfitters and Lemon Lime.

Victoria waterfront - Good weather recently allowed a few anglers to have really good success with lots of fish caught. Most of the salmon were from 3 to 6 lb., although we did hear of a 10 lb. spring caught off the flagpole. Constance Bank was really good on the east side. Closer in, the salmon were between Trial Island and Finlayson Point in about 124 feet of water. Spoons have been successful in getting hook-ups with Irish Cream Skinny Gs, green/glow AP Tackleworks Anchovy 4" spoons and Green/Glow Coyote spoons popular choices.

Oak Bay - Salmon fishing was slow with a few fish coming in from the Flats and the Gap but most of them have been fairly small with a 8 lb. fish the largest that we have heard about. There was bait in Oak Bay so things are looking up. The salmon are feeding on needlefish and have been close to the bottom where the feed is located. Most of the anglers have been either bottom bouncing or jigging close to the bottom.

Sidney - Anglers have not been reporting any success. Previously, they had been catching springs but all of them have been undersized. The area holding the most fish has been the Sidney Channel. Anglers using spoons found that Coho Killers, Gibbs Needle G and G Force spoons the most productive. Suggested colours are Trap Shack and Bon Chovy. Anchovies and Tiny Strip were also good producers of fish with teaser heads in UV purple.

Freshwater - Trout fishing has been good with lots of trout to be caught as the Vancouver Island Fish hatchery fall stocking program of catchable triploid rainbow trout in South Island lakes has been ongoing.

Prior Lake, Spectacle Lake, Ida Anne Lake, Elk Lake, Prospect Lake, Durrance Lake, Colwood Lake, Lookout Lake, Kemp Lake, Thetis Lake, Glen Lake, Matheson Lake, Durrance Lake, Shawnigan Lake, Dougan Lake, Langford Lake and others in the south Island have been stocked with thousands of catchable sized rainbow trout.

Shore anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms while fishing close to the bottom. Pink, chartreuse and fluorescent yellow have been good choices recently for Powerbait. Fly anglers are fishing Wooly Buggers, leeches and Muddler Minnow patterns on full sink fly lines most of the time to get into the lower water levels. Trollers are catching trout with worms fished behind Gang Trolls and on Wedding Bands. Two inch Tomic plugs have also been working well for trout.

BASS - During the day, soft plastics rigged Carolina style work well and crank baits can also work well. Soft plastics rigged Texas style are another good choice when fishing drop offs and deeper structure. The most productive colours in 4" Yum baits are Smoke or Pumpkinseed. Langford Lake, Shawnigan Lake, Prospect Lake and Elk and Beaver lakes are the best local bass lakes. St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island is also a great lake for bass fishing.

Island Outfitters, 3319 Douglas St.,  Victoria, ph: 475-4969



Winter spring fishing has started off good between the Sooke Bluffs and Otter Point and between Possession and the Bluffs.

Best fishing depths seem to be from 120 to 150 ft. working the bottom. Anchovies have been working well in green and UV chartreuse and glow white teaser heads. For flashers try Purple Onion, glow red, green, and purple Hot Spots. For spoons try Coho Killers Cop Car, Speckleback chartreuse glow and purple glow, and G-Force and Gypsy spoons are working good also. Plastic has also been working pretty good - try Purple Haze, Electric Chair, and glow white.

A reminder that the Sooke Annual Boxing Day Derby is on again this year. First place this year is $3000 with lots of other prizes. For more information phone 250-642-7983.

Until next time happy faces and tight lines.

Al Kennedy, Reel Excitement Salmon Charters  email:  250-642-3410

Nice winter springs in Sooke with Reel Excitement Salmon Charters.


reshwater - Cowichan Lake fishing for trout has picked up. The new Best Lures wooden plugs in #304 Outcast and #309 Live Wire, trolled quickly (2.5+ knots) are catching the most big trout. Try trolling off creek mouths. These plugs run a bit deeper than other lures and don’t loose action or roll at faster speeds. Also good success with Tomic plugs in iridescent colours, Gang Trolls (The larger the better.) 24-30" leader and size 5-7 Kwikfish or Flatfish chrome, blue and Frog patterns best. Fly casting at creek mouths with Wooley Buggers or leeches.

Remember bait ban and single barbless hooks until April 15. Cutthroat and rainbow trout over 50 cm must be released.

Kissinger and Lizard lakes to the west, good rainbow trout fishing, try Corky and single egg rigs off the docks and beaches. Troll with small Spratleys, leeches, Wooley Buggers, Flatfish and small spoons.

Fuller Lake, Chemainus, Dougan’s, Quamichan and Somenos lakes also producing well. These lakes have been recently stocked.

Cowichan River trout fishing - Mid river resident rainbow and brown trout. Single egg copies.

Skutz Falls to 70.2 trestle excellent for browns and rainbows. Single egg copies and minnows or Rolled Muddler flies. Greendale trestle to 70.2 trestle loaded with rainbows that have dropped from the lake to dine on the salmon eggs and prepare for spawning. The largest browns in the river are found in this section. Flies of choice: single egg patterns, Rolled Muddlers, Prince Nymphs, Hair’s Ear Bymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Stick to the bead heads and weighted flies - the river is still quite high as it is important to get down deep.

Best flies for coho are blue Rolled Muddlers, Micky Finns or Jim Humphrey’s famous river salmon flies.

Best spinning lures for coho: Vibrax, gold/orange size 3 or silver/pink in size 3 also Gibbs Croc spoons in hammered brass or copper with fire stripe.

Steelhead fishing - Cowichan River - Try Silver Bridge area for early steelhead. Pink worms (we stock 17 shades), blades, Spin-n-Glos are good bets, but the new Trout Beads in Blood Dot are the best choice for steelhead or coho. I wouldn’t bother casting anything else.

Mid river (Riverbottom Road area) try pink worms, blades and smaller roe imitations. December/January yields the largest fish of the season followed by the February/March run of smaller but more plentiful fish.

Nitinat, San Juan, Harris Creek - All excellent rivers for late summer runs and winter steelhead. Best fished when coming off of high water.

Fly fishing - Heavy sink tip lines are necessary when the rivers are running in winter conditions.

Flies of choice: Always popular egg and roe copies, the best of the best are Jim Humphrey’s Intruder Flies that could entice a strike at any time. Put your time in and as the weather improves the odds of landing a winter steelhead will only get better.

Stop by the store for an up to dated fishing report.

May your rod bend to the butt and your smile go from ear to ear.

Gord March,

Gord’s Fly Box & Goodies 170C Cowichan Lake Road Box 1742  250-932-9309



Saltwater - November wind storms kept most anglers off the water, but there were fish out there. The late arrival of rains kept returning salmon in the saltwater longer, but soon the winter chinook will be the main show.

Fish deep, 180-200 feet, trolling Homeland Security and Irish Cream spoons (for two years the top producers), or green Speckleback or Army Truck or white double glow hootchies. Pink hootchies were catching lots of chinooks this year, so give them a try if nothing else is producing. Good flashers this season were Betsys in gold, greens and yellows.

Halibut, lingcod and bottomfish remain closed until the spring.

Prawning and crabbing have been good, and usually worthwhile over the winter. Check DFO for prawn closures to protect egg bearing females.

Freshwater - Fishing for chum and coho salmon was good in the Nanaimo River during November. There should still be some coho in the river now. Usually the Nanaimo River opens later for steelhead in the lower portions between the bridges.

Trout fishing in the lakes is good through the winter except during an Arctic snap. Fly fishers go deep with sinking line and wet flies like Pumpkinhead Wooly Buggers. Or try trolling a Flatfish or casting spinners.

Gone Fishin’, 600-2980 North Island Hwy., Nanaimo, ph: 250-758-7726



The best way to winterize your boat is to keep fishing! A great way to break up a wet winter is to find a day when the wind and sun cooperate and head out on the salt chuck. Nothing like a crisp day, flat seas, back dropped with fresh snow on our local mountains.

Last winter was very productive for "winter chinooks" in local waters. At time of writing this report (early November) I had been releasing a lot of undersized chinooks, this should set the table for a good winter fishery. A welcomed sight after a lower than expected chinook salmon return.

Winter chinooks (two and three-year-old resident salmon) will hold in our area providing there is bait (usually herring) to satisfy their appetites. Winter chinooks tend to be deep so keep the downriggers just off the bottom, troll a bit faster than usual (2 1/2-3 MPH) as well. Covering lots of water is key, as these salmon are on the move looking for food.

Brighter coloured 4" spoons in neon glow/pink strip (48"-60") leader with a crushed ice/glow flasher work well. Having some glow material on flashers, spoons, hootchies, and teaser heads can help to grab their attention in low light conditions. Now is the time to try bait again (anchovie, herring, herring strip) as the dogfish have moved out seeking warmer water. A glow teaser head (48"-60" leader) with a green/glow flasher should do the trick.

Chinook salmon tend to feed near structure so areas like Out Front, on the Humps, Mistaken Island, Gerald Island, and Ballenas Islands are good starting points. These salmon are some of the best eating, with cooler water temperatures they have more fat content and beautiful red flesh.

Winter is a nice time to prawn and crab as well. Keep an eye out for spawning female prawns (eggs attached) during the winter months, recommended to return these, or better yet move to another area if you’re getting a lot of females in one particular spot. Crab is nice and fresh with less molting (soft shell) crab in the winter. It's also a great time of year to harvest some oysters and clams.

As far as the boat goes, It's a good idea to stabilize your fuel in the off season. Running the boat once a month keeps your batteries up and things moving so you might as well take an extra step or two and find that perfect day to hit the water. The taste of fresh seafood in the winter will always bring a smile to your face so what are you waiting for?

Darrell Jobb, Western Star Charters, (250) 951-5927



After an Indian summer that lasted to the end of October the winter is upon us, and the height of the fishing season is over. It was a difficult summer with very little water, but fishing got better with the rainfall of late fall. As I write this in November most rivers are falling in height and are fishable.

Good sport was enjoyed on most local rivers with bright chinook, coho and chum being caught on both fly and gear. Earlier the pinks eventually arrived off mid-Island beaches in August and September, but not in great numbers. Coho salmon off the beaches were elusive and whether you caught fish or not was based around being in the right place at the right time or just being plain lucky! Fishermen using gear could often get to the fish that the fly guys couldn’t reach.

In freshwater, steelheaders will be chasing this fantastic fish in Vancouver Island rivers, the most famous of which are the Stamp and the Cowichan. Fly fishermen will use large marabou patterns and Woolly Buggers in bright colours. Large rubber legged nymphs also work well close to the bottom. However, the majority will be caught on gear using Jensen Eggs, Corkies, Spin-n-Glos, or pink worms under dink floats with pencil lead.

A recent trip chasing steelhead on a west coast river resulted in my pal and I covering several kilometers of river in search of this iconic species, and for once I was rewarded with a beautiful wild fish of about 8 lb. taken on the fly.

Some hardy types will be out on the salt chuck after feeder chinook on the finer days of winter. These are young fish typically two- or three-years-old. In general they are more active feeders than summer fish. As a result you can fish faster and cover more water.

As I write this there are still late runs of chum and coho salmon. In many east coast rivers anglers had good sport on the fly in the Little Qualicum, and on fly and gear in the Englishman River.

Trout fishing can be good between now and the depths of winter. Fishing with egg patterns often finds the bigger fish that have followed the spawning salmon into local rivers.

At this time of year thoughts turn to the festive season ahead and perhaps what to get the fisherman or lady fisher in your life. We can help with appropriate equipment and gift vouchers.

For anyone aspiring to get into fly fishing we run learn to fly fish courses, and have some great Echo Base fly fishing kits (rod, reel, line, backing and leader) which are great value and come, unusually, with a lifetime warranty on the rod. Check our website for more information. In the New Year we will hold our Annual January Sale with a huge range of deals across the store.

Whatever your passion we have all the right tackle and advice to help you catch more fish.

Tight Lines Keith Hyett, Coast Sportfish, 202 - 891 Island Hwy. West, Parksville, 250-586-6622,



Saltwater - Winter chinook salmon fishing in Barkley Sound usually starts around Christmas or New Years and takes us through to early summer, but there are a few fish out there now. Late January is always a great time for salmon, also in March during the Sproat Lake Loggers salmon derby.

The Alberni Canal, Vernon Bay and Ten Mile Point are a couple of the reliable hot spots for winter springs. Troll at 100-150 feet with anchovies or small spoons in Army Truck or hootchies in alligator and prawn patterns.

Halibut, lingcod and bottomfish remain closed until the spring.

Freshwater - River fishing for steelhead has been fantastic this fall with numbers over double the previous year’s. In the upper river fish with egg imitations like Trout Beads and Blood Dot Trout Beads, or egg imitation fly patterns or marabou jigs, anything to imitate coho salmon eggs will interest the steelhead. We’re hoping the strong fall fishery will turn into a great winter steelhead season. Usually the winter run fish begin to show up around the New Year.

For a different steelhead experience try casting plugs off the Great Central Lake bridge and do some stationary trolling.

For trout fishing the big lower elevation lakes are always productive. It’s just a matter of battling the weather or picking a nice day to get out on the water. Find a sunny day and troll some plugs. Try the new Best Lure handcarved wooden lures, or troll big Gang Trolls with Flatfish, Wedding Bands (with a piece of worm), or bottom fish from shore with a worm or Powerbait. Fly fishers stick to wet flies like leeches, Muddlers and Spratleys.

Good luck. Gone Fishin’ 4985 Johnston, Port Alberni,  ph: 250-723-1172



Saltwater - Hello winter, good-bye dogfish! The best thing about salmon fishing in the winter is these pesky little sharks have migrated to warmer water. This is an ideal time to troll anchovies and herring for feeder chinook.

There have been early reports of fish being caught around Point Holmes, but Kitty Coleman and Grants Reef should see some nice schools of salmon over the course of the winter. During November through to January, the water is very clear, so flashers are not required. Smaller spoons and Tomic plugs that mimic live bait will be super effective. This is also a great time of year to try jigging off the edge of a bait ball for salmon. As always, Point Wilson Darts are hot, but also stock up on some Blue Fox Gomame jigs.

Freshwater - As the chum salmon finish their annual run up the Puntledge River, those wishing to continue river fishing will have to shift their focus to trout and steelhead. This is strictly a catch-and-release fishery in the Puntledge. Fly anglers should make sure their leaders and lines are heavy enough to sink down to fish lurking at the bottom. Worm patterns can be extremely effective, plus they are easy to tie. Your fly box should also be stocked up with egg patterns and stoneflies. Steelhead will respond to blue, purple and black Intruders. For those using a spinning or bait casting set-up, try using bubblegum pink worms or Gooey Bobs in BC Orange. Puntledge Park is a popular place to fish the river, but anglers should be mindful of the no fishing zone at the mouth of Morrison Creek.

The angler willing to brave long hours in the cold, sitting at the side of a lake, will be rewarded. Winter is regarded by some as the best season to fish for trout. Maple Lake and Wolf Lake are both great places to chuck a worm and bobber, or some chartreuse Powerbait. Doc Spratley and marabou leech patterns are good all season.

If early temperatures are a sign of things to come, there is a chance Maple Lake will freeze over. If this happens, take this rare opportunity to do some ice fishing. Please keep in mind that ice should be at least four inches thick to safely walk across.

Nicole, Tyee Marine (Peter’s Sport Shop), 870 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, 334-2942



Saltwater - Those who tuck their boats away for the winter miss out on some great fishing opportunities in Campbell River. There are plenty of feeder chinook salmon being caught off the Hump at a depth of 180 ft. Winter chinook are active and aggressive feeders, so a faster troll is acceptable. Durabait anchovies and five inch Coyote spoons are perfect for enticing these feisty fish. The colder currents have driven away the dogfish, so this is an excellent time to troll small anchovies and herring in a Rhys Davis teaser head.

Freshwater - Steelhead fishing in the Quinsam and Nimpkish rivers should be heating up. These rivers are productive from mid November all the way through till January. Pink or blue Intruders and egg sucking leeches should be effective patterns for anglers using a fly rod. Last year, set-ups using orange wool were bringing in lots of fish and this year should be no different. Rubber worms and Gooey Bobs in bubblegum pink are also great alternatives for gear casting.

Oyster River and Salmon River are both worth fishing during late December through to the end of January. Remember you are fishing these river systems in winter, so dress in layers and if using waders, wear your wading belt! The last thing you want is to accidentally fall into a river and have them fill up with frigid water. Your wading belt will also trap air in your waders, providing some buoyancy should you fall into deeper water. Wearing your wading belt however, is still not a replacement for a good life jacket.

Roberts Lake should be at the top of your list when trying to decide where to do some winter trout fishing. This lake has a bait ban, so the good ole' worms and bobber will have to stay home. Try casting Krocodile spoons or black and silver Flatfish around the drop off between the boat launch and resort. The best way to fish Roberts Lake is to slowly troll two or three inch plugs around the far side of the lake. There are plenty of lunkers in this lake, but the maximum length you are allowed to keep is 50 cm.

Nicole, Tyee Marine, 880 Island Hwy., Campbell River, 877-287-8933

Jessica Rodgers with a November Vancouver Island steelhead. Photo courtesy Tyee Marine



The end to a very busy and productive season has arrived at Westview Marina & Lodge. Thanks to all of you and your crews for sharing your fishing/catching holidays with us. There were many highlights this season.

The return of Tyee salmon (30+ lb.) to Westview’s cleaning tables was fun to watch. Halibut were found everywhere; standard sizes were 25-55 lb. Trolling for lingcod is the new norm - lots of action, very few by-catches.

Westview’s Friday Night Buffets were hugely popular with great food and beverages. Friday night also featured Rock the Dock live music (country, jazz, rock, blues, etc.) always fun!

2017 fish stock report - We are happy to report that almost all the local rivers and streams in Area 25 are teaming with chinook (springs) and coho salmon. Escapement numbers of fish to the spawning grounds meet or exceed the requirements for healthy salmon runs for the future.

The chum salmon are also showing up in good numbers throughout Esperanza and Nootka. It is quite rewarding and amazing to see Mother Nature at work. We could easily film a Discovery Channel show staring thousands of fish, lots of black bears and bald eagles. It all means that this healthy environment will yield excellent fishing for many years to come.

2018 out-look – Fishing/catching projections for Area 25: Winter spring/chinook salmon will begin to heat up as normal in January and February when high pressure systems move in. Beautiful clear cool days with good catching opportunities especially from Tahsis Narrows right out to and around Centre Island. The vast majority of these springs will be U.S. hatchery clipped traveling up our Island’s coastline in search for food. They find the rich feeding grounds of Esperanza Inlet and usually stay until early summer when they start the long trip south to spawn. Winter springs average 6 -12 lb. but by March and April 10 - 6 lb. is normal and on occasions nearing 20 lb.

May – September chinook and coho salmon are expected to return in greater numbers than the 2017 season. The 2017 season was an excellent one, so the 2018 in season salmon fishing/catching will be great.

Remember that halibut fishing will start strong in the spring when the projected large herring spawn occurs off Nuchatlaht and near the Rolling Roadstead in Esperanza.

Mention this Island Angler fishing report and get 10% off any regular 2018 booking price (moorage, lodging, charters).

John Falavolito, Owner/Operator Westview Marina & Lodge, Tahsis 800-992-3252   N49* 55’ 13 W126* 39’ 78.5   Successfully serving the Fishing Pubic for 24 yrs.


WINTER SALMON FISHING TIP Bottom bouncing for winter springs

Most savvy salmon seekers attach Gagnon or heavy cod line to the end of their downrigger lines before attaching their weights. This softer line better withstands the bottom bouncing that fishing for winter springs entails. If you prefer not to make your own, you can get commercially made downrigger snubbers that are designed to withstand the same abuse of bouncing on the bottom.

From Island Outfitters, Victoria


UCLUELET / LONG BEACH (This report from Autumn, 2017)

Chinook salmon fishing in close has been consistent the past 25 days and most coming in the 15-25 lb. range. There have also been a few bites at Outside Lighthouse and Southwest Corner.

The odd coho is showing up in close to shore and we expect coho numbers to increase. There are quite a few coho and smaller chinook on Big Bank. We expect the inshore fishing will be good for both chinook and coho.

Lingcod are a favourite of mine and those can be caught in close to shore.

Sam Vandervalk, Salmon Eye Fishing Charters, 877-777-4344,


PORT HARDY AREA REPORT (This report from Autumn, 2017)

There’s still a few chinooks around up here, and the coho have just shown up. Fly fishermen are having fun with them. Halibut was tapering off before the coast-wide closure, but we did have a good halibut season. We had lots of spring salmon in the teens with a few in the 40s and a couple in the 50s.

Now we can look forward to good coho fishing on the salt chuck and in the rivers as well as lake trout fishing and then winter steelhead.

Jim’s Castle Point Charters & The Bait Shack, 250-949-9294, cell 250-949-1982

Pink salmon have finally arrive (September 28) at Departure Bay Beach in Nanaimo.

Casting for salmon from Rocky Point

Jasmine from Campbell River caught her very first fish (at Point Holmes) on her pink Barbie rod with a blue BuzzBomb. She was persistent in wearing her pink princess dress to match her rod.



In the spring when it’s time to buy your fishing licenses there will be some changes. Non-tidal licenses will remain available from your fishing tackle store as well as the BC government website. Tidal licenses however will no longer be for sale at any store, they will only be available on-line for 2014.

As an attempt to go green by using less paper the federal government will no longer print blank licenses. Anglers, however, will have to print the on-line license and carry it with them when fishing.

The federal government will also stop offering vendors any incentive to sell  licenses. Previously tackle shop owners earned one dollar for each license sold. Not exactly a high profit margin, but a bit of compensation for their time. So the federal government will save money by not printing licenses and also by not sharing proceeds with stores. Also going into extinction are printed tidal waters regulations booklets. The government is banking on anglers carrying smart phones to check regulations wherever they are fishing.

Many tourists will be caught unprepared, and possibly find themselves paying fines for fishing without a license and without a clear idea of fishing regulations.

To buy your tidal waters fishing license on-line click here.


Be bear aware

A biological drive to put on weight for a long winter has B.C.’s bears on the move, seeking out the calories they need before heading to their dens.

In their desperation to get enough food, bears can get aggressive, especially in areas close to human habitat. That’s when most bear-human conflicts occur. If you’re fishing Island rivers there’s a chance you may encounter bears drawn to the same shores.

Bears have an incredible sense of smell. They can zero in on food from miles away and can be single-minded to get at that food. For a bear, food comes in many forms, including garbage and over-ripe fruit in residential areas.

Every bear encounter is unique so there are no steadfast rules.

If you meet a bear in the wild try to remain calm. Never approach or chase a bear; face the bear without making eye contact, back away slowly. Take the same route out that you came in. Try to keep track of the bear, but again, don't challenge the bear with eye contact.

If the bear makes blowing or snorting noises and then charges and veers off at the last second this is likely defensive behavior so continue to back away.Extend your arms above your head appearing as large as you can, talk in a gruff voice, look for a weapon such as a rock or stick. Drop your pack to distract the bear; only do this if absolutely necessary because the bear could learn to pursue people for their packs.

Climb a tree as a last resort.

If a bear is persistent or aggressive, call the Report Poachers and Polluters hotline 1- 877-952-7277, or surf to

For more information about bears and bear-human conflicts, visit:



 Return to Island Angler Home page  salmon, trout, halibut, steelhead, bass fishing report


Embroidered Fishing Hat

Striking full-colour logo on elegant taupe fabric

EXTRA: Canadian Maple Leaf design on side


Adjustable one-size fits all

LIMITED EDITION - A Unique Gift  $31.00